MEANINGFUL INTERACTIONS

The reading about the Cleveland Museum and the Video of Jake Barton really helped me understand the way technology is implement through museums and different experiences. It is very interesting to see how the world has to adapt to new forms of communication and interaction and museums are not an exception. In a world where we are constantly submerged in information, designers have to think how to make certain things stand out, how to make the content shine and make it appealing for people. From both sources, I think the most important key points that I can use towards my MusePAD project are the following:

  1. Finding a way for users to create a story: When people visit museums, they all expect different things and they want to find out different information, thus allowing the user to navigate on its own path and create narratives could enhance the experience. I think its ideal to give tools to users so that they can decide what to dig into, and what to avoid. This would allow the users to generate experiences and thus connect through an emotional level and create really meaningful moments. It is also a good idea to let the users produce content, create their own stories, share their stories and therefore generate an experiential journey. A clear example of this is the 9/11 memorial in New York City. As it was described in the video, it is something truly emotional. I was lucky enough to visit this memorial in July 2015 and I was really touched by it. What really caught my attention is the way the designers thought about enhancing a sensorial experience. What I mean with this is that the exhibit actually gives you goose bumps and it connects with you in a different level. It is not about looking at stuff or about reading information and becoming better informed, it is about feeling what other people were feeling and experiencing on that day. When I walked inside, I remember I thought it was like getting into people’s heads, and more importantly their feelings. I could hear lots of voices telling life stories of what happened on the day of the attack and the interesting aspect of it is that it is really genuine primary information about real people.

Humans are emotional driven individuals, and when Barton was saying that the only way to get people to go back to the same attractions is to create experiences and allow them to shape their own stories. I Immediately thought about Disney. I am a true Disney fan, and I can go to Disney every year and I never get bored of it. They still have the same attractions and the same shows, year after year, I know it all by heart, however I do not go there because of the attractions, I go there because of what it makes me feel when I am there, because I can create new stories and I can slowly craft an experience while walking through the theme parks. Since the minute I wake up and I know I am going to Disney I am already smiling, singing Disney songs and jumping around like a 5 year old. It is the personality and the values it portrays that really make me go back all the time. I feel in love with the concept of Disney and I believe it. I believe it is the happiest place on earth and I believe that all my dreams can come true.

  1. Do not re-invent the museum, amplify the experience: This phrase really changed the way I thought about technology being implemented in a museum. I think that when I was given the brief I was thinking how do I CHANGE the experience, but I shouldn’t be thinking about that. It is not about changing it, or re-inventing it, it is about translating it. It is about intensifying what it is already out there. Basically is about making it better. To be able to amplify the experience it is very important to understand the experience in depth and identify pressure points. It is important to provide new ways for people to understand and to fill the gaps around the pieces of art to finally make the experience better.
  1. Looking through the technology, not at it: Technology will never replace a museum experience, it will never be the same, and therefore it should be used as a complimentary aspect within the experience of the users. Technology is a channel, is the means to communicate information and allow users to discover new things, but it shouldn’t distract the people from the real piece of art. This technology should allow people to interact with the exhibition, to amplify the experience but not change it completely or detached the person from the actual piece of art.

Technology can help to enhance the experience in an unrealistic way. It helps to get people more involved within the exhibition and to find out the information they are actually interested in. A great example of this is the One World Observatory attraction in New York City. It had been years since I was so impressed by something. The exhibition was a well-rounded 360º experience. From the moment you get on the elevator, it is possible to perceive how the experience would be like. This elevator was filled with screens that were plotting the skyline of NYC over the years and how it grew to what it is today. I made a video of this experience because it really caught my attention when I visited it.

Moreover, once up in the observatory, people are taken into a room for a quick video that was simply breathtaking. It showed how NYC was built from scratch and it ended up with the way it is today. Then, one of the walls unexpectedly open and you could see the real skyline of the city, which is really a WOW moment to switch from the digital image to the real one in front of you. Once inside the observatory, the views of the city were amazing and people could use iPads to point towards certain areas and the device will help them locate important buildings or sightseeing spots. Clearly this iPad is being used as a complementary element in the museum as it allows people to find information they are curious about and enhance the overall experience.

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These are some of the videos I took while being in the experience

  1. Importance of prototyping: I believe prototypes are crucial for any process. To do the musePAD project it is crucial for me to test my ideas with the users, this is the only way of knowing what the need and want and how they might react to my design. It is an iterative process of building testing and getting feedback to really come up with something people would want to use. Users are the ones that give the answers to the problems that arise within the design process.

Moreover, this reading and video made me think about the importance on creating experiences and amazing the audience. Some examples that also do the same thing are the following:

  • El Cielo Restaurant (Medellin, Colombia): This restaurante is a gastronomic experience on its own. The food is based on Colombian dishes combined with neurosciences, and the dishes truly emphasize all of the senses, they call it “Food for the soul.” This restaurant is very modern but it captures the essence of Colombian cuisine with a twist of technology and magic. This restaurant is not about the food you are eating, is about the experience of being there. It is about the artwork that you are about to eat, the smell and the texture of the food and how it all combines in an unforgettable moment.

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  • EXPO Milano 2015: This is an Exhibition in Milan that showcases more than 140 participant countries that show their best technology to deliver healthy food for everyone. The central theme for this years exhibition is  “Feeding the planet, energy for life” It is all about nutrition problems, the resources of our planet and the use of new technologies.  Importance of food in the spanish culture. Specially, the Spanish pavilion seems very interesting. It is all about the production, quality and diversity of the food and it is presented through technology. Around the exhibition there are lots of screens that show different recipes and stories around the food industry of Spain. Something very interesting is they way the Spanish pavilion allowed interaction with the audience. They had tables with screens on them and different ingredients and people could choose ingredients and create their own recipe by mixing them on the screens. This exhibition shows a journey through the way food is handled, produced and enjoyed in Spain and at the end of it people get the chance to try it, they can buy some of the products or they can sit down have a meal and enjoy it with their families or friends, it is truly a gastronomical experience.

Moreover, Expo Milano, also created the inside of the supermarket of the future. This shows how technology could be applied in supermarkets, and how this would change the way we go grocery shopping. Nowadays people are interested on the products they are consuming so by implementing technology as a channel of communication it is possible to see the story behind the product you are buying and get better informed of what you are consuming and how this affects you, the environment and the planet. I think this is a great of example of how to “Look through the technology, not at it”.

Another concept that I thought it was very interesting even though it is not real is shown in the following video “A Day Made of Glass” This projection into what the future might be like seems very entertaining. The idea of screens has evolved into any surface and what I think is a key point is the fact that everything has to be accessible on the go and at all times. Although when I look at this I worry that humans might be too dependent on technology and this will actually drag them further away from their own real lives.

REFERENCES

Acción Cultural Española (2015) Pabellón de España. Available at: http://www.pabellonespana2015.com/es/sobre-el-pabellon (Accessed: 28 October 2015)

Design INDABA (2015) Jake Barton on how to create meaningful interactions through technology. Available at: http://bit.ly/206QDO7 (Accessed: 28 October 2015)

Expo Milano (2015) Available at: http://www.expo2015.org/en/learn-more (Accessed: 28 October 2015)

Fast Company (2015). 5 Lessons in UI Design, from A Breakthrough Museum.

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